Thailand’s New Visa Plan Aims To Attract International Talent

The Thai government is on a mission to boost the country’s competitiveness by establishing itself as a hub for highly skilled international workers. This initiative is part of a broader plan to stimulate and maintain economic growth over the long term.

Government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke announced on Tuesday that Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is committed to elevating the nation to new heights by introducing a variety of new visa categories designed to attract global talent.

According to data from the Board of Investment (BOI), Thailand has issued work visas and permits to over 56,000 foreign experts involved in projects promoted for investment.

The country currently has over 4,000 long-term resident (LTR) visa holders, including 791 Americans, 479 Russians, 332 Britons, 277 Chinese, 236 Germans, 207 Japanese, and 198 French.

Additionally, there are 2,170 holders of smart visas—these include skilled workers and investors in key industries, as well as entrepreneurs, primarily from the US, Russia, the UK, Japan, and Germany.

Mr. Chai noted that the LTR visa plays a crucial role in the government’s strategy to attract four key groups of foreigners: specialists, professionals working from Thailand, high-earning individuals, and retired couples.

This visa allows a ten-year stay in Thailand with unlimited re-entry and work authorization. It also offers significant tax relief of up to 17% for specialists and simplifies immigration reporting requirements from every 90 days to annually.

Moreover, the government is contemplating the introduction of a “Destination Thailand visa” (DTV) for foreign nationals with digital skills, intended to encourage more international talent to live and work in Thailand. The launch of the DTV is anticipated this month.

The BOI, in collaboration with the Immigration Bureau and the Labour Ministry, has established a One Start One Stop Investment Center (OSOS) to streamline the process for foreign specialists, talents, and investors.

“The premier has emphasized the importance of attracting investments to boost the country’s competitiveness,” Mr. Chai added.

“He believes the effort to implement measures [for spurring the economy and sustaining growth] to align with current circumstances will serve as a tool to position Thailand on the global investment map in the long run,” he concluded.